Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chicago, IL

These images come from the apartment of painter Dennis Mathews. Dennis is currently studying to achieve Grand Master status at the Art Institute of Chicago. We traded artwork shortly before we both left Richmond.

This painting, entitled No Reason Why, is a portrait of a dilapidated house on Church Hill in Richmond. The house had been abandoned with all of the previous owner's possessions still inside. It is one of three paintings on the theme. The initial painting,Not even a Letter (32-20 Blues), was commissioned by the woman that was about to rehabilitate the building. With any luck I will be able to get the owners of the other two to let me post pictures of them.

At the time, I was listening to the music of Robert Johnson and lost in my own bittersweet blues. It was spring. I was involved with a beautiful woman who was nothing but trouble. I was packing my bags and leaving town. The mood was right. I photographed the house on a stormy afternoon and executed all three paintings in rapid succession.

As you can see, Dennis is a very well read and educated young scholar. Dennis points out that next to the painting are "a theories of modern art book, ee cummings book, plato perhaps, and history of the
church book." I can also see some movies, but I assume they are only materials from Dennis's extensive research into pop culture.

A Jules Buck Jones painting hangs adjacent to mine. This painting is a good specimen from our time at VCU. During the time that Dennis, Jules, and I painted in the same studio, Jules executed an enormous scroll-drawing on a roll of paper. He was lost in a fascinating world of roadtrip imagery. These days, his work plays with a bizarre naturalism and dovetails nicely with the work of Christopher Reiger.

Dennis also has a ceiling fan. Above my painting you can just glimpse a fragment of the original Magna Carta.